Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

UW-Eau Claire Installs New
Lightning Prediction System

RELEASED: Sept. 18, 2006

photo of lightningEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has installed a lightning prediction system manufactured by Thorguard, Inc. The system is designed to predict a lightning strike within a defined geographical region. Using sensors connected to a computer, the system is able to measure and analyze the electrostatic field in the atmosphere. Once pre-established detection limits are reached, the system activates a series of horns and strobe lights to warn those outside to seek shelter. Since the system is automated, it can provide warning even when there appears to be no evidence of lightning.

Three sets of warning horns and strobes have been installed around the UW-Eau Claire upper campus. They are located at Bollinger Field, the Hilltop tennis courts, and at Simpson Field.

When the conditions for lightning strike exist, the system will give a 15-second blast on the horn cluster. At the same time, a yellow strobe will activate and stay on until the danger has passed or at least ten minutes after the last detection of lightning. Once the potential for a lightning strike has passed, the system will activate the horns for an all-clear signal three short, five-second blasts and the strobe light will go off. Because most outside activities close down by midnight, the lightning prediction is shut down between midnight and 6 a.m.

In many cases, weather systems bring with them high winds, tornados, and hail. By design, the Thorguard system will likely activate as bad weather approaches campus. While this system may provide some warning about these different types of weather phenomena, it does so only because lightning may accompany the storm. The warning of storms that indicate the possibility of large hail and tornadoes still comes from monitoring local weather stations and the weather alert system provided by Eau Claire County. The weather alert sirens covering the UW-Eau Claire campus are located on the Simpson Field press box and near the Governors Hall parking lot.

Anyone who hears the Thorguard Lightning Prediction System activate should go inside a nearby building and should not seek shelter under towers, trees or other tall objects that could attract a lightning strike. Motor vehicles can provide shelter, but those seeking shelter in a vehicle should not touch any metal that could be part of the vehicle frame. Those working with outdoor groups should cease operations and guide their participants inside.

For more information or for any questions or concerns about the new lightning prediction system, contact Troy Terhark, University Recreation and Sports Facilities, 715-836-4218.

-30-

TP/NW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.